When I moved to the Orlando area a couple years back, the thought of riding my bike to work was seriously entertained. Being a recreational bike rider, I was hesitant to give commuting a go. My first dilemma was the fact that the sidewalks ended at a certain point and I would be forced to ride the road.
Reluctantly, I tried commuting at a coworkers urging. The sidewalks were nice and the road was a tad scary. The jeers from the “inconvenienced” motorists had become part of the daily ride. I began researching the bike laws and found that the road was wide open to me, legally, as a human propelled vehicle.
Since I that day, I have learned a great deal about commuting and vehicular cycling. Once the high prices of fuel reached a peak, I noticed the jeers had lessened and more bike were seen. Unfortunately the majority of these new riders I see are sidewalk (recreational) riders.
It appears that this surge of bike riders is making a difference in how motorists treat cyclists. This change I feel would not have been seen if the number of bikes (cyclists) had not increased. While I do not know the Orlando stats, I found an interesting post on the Bicycling.com forum:
From the article: ‘And it’s not simply because there are fewer cars on the roads, but because motorists seem to change their behaviour and drive more safely when they see more cyclists and pedestrians around.’
Safety is in the numbers, but only if the numbers are properly TRAINED to obey the laws and follow safety practices.
Ride safe and Happy New Year to all!